Advertising watchdog pulls up Xiaomi, PayPal, Dabur, Kissan Ketchup, Zee Media for misleading ads

The Advertising Standard Council of India (ASCI) has pulled up several popular companies, including Xiaomi, PayPal, Zee Media, Dabur, Kissan Ketchup, PharmEasy, Bajaj and more for violating ASCI’s guidelines.

Advertising watchdog pulls up Xiaomi, PayPal, Dabur, Kissan Ketchup, Zee Media for misleading ads

During the month of January 2020, ASCI investigated complaints against 342 advertisements, of which 110 advertisements were promptly withdrawn by the advertisers on receipt of communication from the council.

The Independent Consumer Complaints Council (CCC) of ASCI evaluated the remaining 232 advertisements, of which complaints against 208 advertisements were upheld. Out of these 208 advertisements, 83 belonged to the education sector, 64 to the healthcare sector, eight to personal care, seven to real estate, five to the food & beverages sector, and 33 were from the ‘others’ category.

The council used its special option of Suspension Pending Investigation (SPI) to expedite and take down a digital advertisement that was extremely offensive. Kwai Technology India’s advertisements of Uvideo on YouTube were accessible to everyone regardless of age, still expletive and swear words, as well obscene language, was used in several scenes. ASCI considered that advertisement vulgar and repulsive, which would have caused grave and widespread offence to the general public and instructed the advertiser to remove it within 48 hours

Hindustan Unilever Limited’s (HUL) Kissan Ketchup advertisement which claimed “boring roti-sabji ko banaiye yummy kissan roll” was found misleading. CCC agreed that condiments like Ketchup enhance the taste of a dish, but calling out regular “roti-subji” as boring was considered to be discrediting home-cooked food and also disparaging good food practices. 

PayPal Payments WhatsApp advertisement’s claim of 100% cashback voucher was not substantiated. ASCI observed that the advertiser is providing a 100% cashback voucher with a coupon code which is valid only on the very first transaction at Ease My Trip through PayPal subject to a minimum booking value of Rs. 2500. The advertiser did not explain the modalities of the 100% cashback offer. Furthermore, neither the discount offered was equal in value of his purchase nor it was not clear how the “100% Cashback Voucher” would be made available to the customer.

PharmEasy’s claim of “Trusted by 50 Lac + Customers” was not substantiated. The advertiser did not provide any verifiable data or market/consumer survey data to support the claim nor was the claim backed by any audited report or independent third-party validation.

The print advertisement from Zee Media (Zee Hindustan Tamil) showcased three well-known anchors of other competitive news channels without mentioning the name of the news channels. Though the advertiser does not indicate any channel, the advertiser does refer to “anchors”. The CCC concluded that the advertisement unfairly denigrates the anchors by referring to their names in the advertisement.

Dabur‘s TV advertisement of Oxylife Natural claimed in the voiceover as translated “With Fairness get Flawless skin” was considered in contravention of ASCI Guidelines for Advertising for Skin Lightening or Fairness Improvement Products.

Xiaomi Redmi Note 7 Pro‘s mobile app advertisement claimed “P2i’s patented pulsed plasma deposition…This will protect the phone against humidity, everyday splashes and spills”, was not substantiated by the council. The advertiser briefly explained the technology, however, it did not provide any evidence to this effect. The claim was not qualified in the advertisement to indicate the test method or protocol reference.

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